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Abstract

The properties and fate of the cells of the subependymal layer of the anterior lateral ventricle and its rostral extension into the olfactory bulb were examined. In one experiment, histological analysis was made of this structure in a large group of rats, ranging in age from newborn to adults. It was established that the ventricular subependymal layer and its rostral extension are present as proliferative and migratory matrices throughout the period studied, with relatively little reduction in size from birth to adulthood. In another, autoradiographic study, the proliferation and migration of cells of this system, and their destination and mode of differentiation, were studied in rats that were injected with thymidine-H3 at 30 days of age and killed at intervals ranging from 1 hour to 180 days. There was a declining gradient in cell proliferation in a caudorostral direction from a high level near the lateral ventricle to the absence of cell proliferation in the olfactory bulb. The labeled cells that were present in high proportion near the lateral ventricle in the rats killed 1–24 hours after injection had further multiplied and moved to the middle portion of the “rostral migratory stream” by the third day, and were located in the subependymal layer of the olfactory bulb by the sixth day after injection. By the twentieth day the labeled cells disappeared from the subependymal layer of the olfactory bulb and were distributed throughout the internal granular layer. The differentiated cells were tentatively identified as granular nerve cells and neuroglia cells. These results established that the major target structure of cell production in the subependymal layer of the lateral ventricle in young-adult rats is the olfactory bulb, with only moderate contribution made to the anterior neocortex and basal ganglia. It was postulated that the function of cell migration to the olfactory bulb is the renewal of its cell population.